• Welcome to the second edition of Last Week This Morning, a weekly NBA column that is supposed hit on all of the previous weeks top stories, but really just serves as a platform for me to talk about anything I want in the world of hoops.

    Playoff T-Shirts

    I was working on Friday when a buddy of mine texted me about potentially heading in to the city (if you were paying attention last week, you would know that ‘the city’ is Boston) to catch Game 3 of Hawks – Celtics. He’s a Celtics fan, I am not, but I do enjoy Isaiah Thomas and Jonas Jerebko, plus I needed him to do me a favor (spring time = swapping the Jeep hard top out for the soft top, and it’s a two-man job), so after one final text he sent me showing that everyone in attendance would be receiving a free playoff T-Shirt courtesy of Arbella Insurance, I was in.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 3.41.24 PM

    On the train ride in, I had expressed my interest in how the T-shirt thing would go down. Would I be scrambling to find a medium? Would they all be the same size? If they are the same size, what does Arbella Insurance consider the median size of Celtics fans? You know, the important stuff.

    I should also note that I had a good feeling about the Celtics in Game 3 once I heard that Brad Stevens was putting Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner in the starting lineup. I have less affinity for Turner, but Jerebko is on my ‘does-stuff’ All-Star team. He’s always doing SOMETHING right, and while he doesn’t necessarily put up impressive numbers, whenever he’s on the court, going back to his Pistons days, that lineup just functions better. Ok, back to the T-shirts.

    I’d say we arrived about 40 or so minutes before tip-off, grabbed some food, and headed down to our seats. The arena was mostly empty, so I figured I’d have plenty of time to find the right size shirt and do a quick swaperoo before anyone noticed. Both of our seats had XL’s, mine came with a beer stain from the two dudes standing up behind us, so, lucky me.

    Quick tangent, the two drunk dudes were about my age (26) and at one point in the third quarter one of them said “this place is nothing like the old Gahden”, which made me laugh considering that building closed in 1995 and there is no way they could possibly know what it was like in there.

    T-shirts. I didn’t want the XL, or the beer stain, so I started hunting for that medium, but I would have happily settled for a large.

    Here’s the kicker, every shirt in the building was an extra large. Is that common practice around the NBA? What kind of message are they trying to send?

    I understand the ‘one size fits all’ approach. I’m sure they don’t want people like myself searching for the right size and screwing everything up, and I know it’s cheaper to mass-produce T-shirts if you stick to one size, but I thought it was bush league. Actually, I didn’t really care at all, but outrage equals clicks so consider myself thoroughly pissed. They were bad T-shirts anyway, but I’ve always been genuinely curious of how that free shirt ‘transaction’ goes down, and now it’s documented somewhere on the Internet, so my job here is done.

    Kwame Brown Kid

    As soon as ‘Kwame Brown Kid’ walked in, I forgot how dumb the T-shirt fiasco was.

    Photo Apr 22, 8 09 07 PM (1)

    Kwame Brown is a fun NBA joke. I’m sure there are thousands, if not millions of Crying Jordan Kwame Brown memes on the Internet, and for good reason!

    I can forgive someone for owning, and even wearing, a Washington Wizards Kwame Brown jersey. Jerseys are expensive; you kind of wear what you’ve got – case in point – I saw a Marquis Daniels Celtics jersey in the crowd. Totally acceptable! He was a decent rotation player on a few good Celtics team, I’ll allow it.

    Why would someone ever own a Lakers Kwame Brown jersey, though, and why would you wear it to a Boston Celtics home playoff game?

    I can probably answer that second part, you wear it for attention, like the attention I am giving him, because I thought it was great. The crowd hated him, which I enjoyed. The ‘KWAAAAAAMEEEEEEE’ chant was something I could have never predicted on the train ride in, and for someone who didn’t really care who won, that is why live sporting events are worth going to.

    I screamed some rendition of ‘KWAAAAAAMEEEEEE’ for pretty close to four hours on Friday night. Five or six years ago, I would have bet A LOT of money against that ever happening, and not only did it happen – it made my night.

    Best-of-Five?

    If you read the previous 800 or so words of nonsense, thank you. The truth is, that was the extent of my NBA thoughts this week. The first round of the NBA Playoffs has been quite bad, and largely uneventful. This is the sort of opening round that makes every ‘first round should be best-of-five’ argument relevant; even though I disagree that they should actually change the current format. Underwhelming, uneventful basketball is better than no basketball, but this is coming from a guy who has bought the Vegas Summer League package every year since it’s introduction. I’m not the best person to make a ruling on this.

    Hack-A-Whatever

    Mark Cuban made some comments to the effect of ‘if Adam Silver thinks that they should change the ‘Hack-A-Shaq’ rule, he is absolutely wrong’ earlier this week, and while I don’t necessarily agree with Cuban often, I’m with him on this one.

    On the theoretical list of ‘things that are making basketball less fun’, the intentional fouling stuff is pretty far down. How about tackling how ridiculously long video reviews take? How about a real attempt to de-incentivize flopping? How about changing the one-and-done rule?

    I don’t mind watching poor free throw shooters shoot free throws. I actually find DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard at the line awkwardly entertaining. It’s cringe worthy in a can’t-look-away, Michael Scott just said something slightly offensive to Toby Flenderson kind of way. I’m in to it.

    Being able to poke fun at ‘that guy who can’t shoot free throws’ has been part of the NBA framework my entire life. I’m not ready to give that up.

Fantasy News

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee bone bruise) will reportedly be "good to go" for the start of training camp in October.

    Well, this is good news that we didn't hope we would need. Covington played 35 games last year and couldn't get over the bone bruise injury that kept him out for a majority of the year. We expected him to be ready to go, and the fact that we're even discussing this is slightly less than ideal.

    Source: Dane Moore on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.

    Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.

    Source: Boston.com Celtics News on Twitter

  • Isaiah Canaan
    PG, International

    Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.

    The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.

    The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.

  • Myles Turner
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.

    Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.

  • Trevon Bluiett
    PF, Utah Jazz

    Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.

    Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Zach Collins
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.

    Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.

    Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.

    Source: John Casey on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.

    The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.

    The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.

    Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter